By Kalena Jordan
Having been in the business of optimizing
web sites for high search engine rankings for over five years now, I have come
across a number of “optimized” sites that use search engine optimization (SEO)
techniques that are just plain WRONG.
Most of these sites were
optimized by persons just starting out; SEO beginners not yet familiar enough
with the industry to determine SEO fact from SEO fiction. But what’s scary
is that some of the sites I’ve seen using incorrect methods have been
optimised by so called search engine optimization “experts” who really
should know better.
Some common themes develop
amongst incorrectly optimized sites. Could YOU be making the same errors with
your site? To find out, let’s look at the five most common search engine
1) Non Utilization of
the Title Tag
How many times have you
looked at a web site where the browser title reads “Welcome to [company
name]’s web site” or simply “[Company Name]”? Nothing wrong with that,
I hear you say? Well if you want to achieve high search engine rankings,
there’s PLENTY wrong with it.
You see, while it may not
be common knowledge amongst web designers, most search engines index the
content of title tags and consider it to be one of the most important factors
in their relevancy algorithm. What you place in your title can make or break
your ranking for particular search terms on the various engines. If you
don’t include your most important search phrases within your title tag, you
are overlooking a vital opportunity in your quest for higher search rankings.
Having said this, you
should try and keep your title tag to a maximum of 200 characters, as that is
the average limit most search engines will truncate to. If you really insist
on including your company name in your title and you’re willing to sacrifice
good keyword real estate to do so, put it at the very end of the tag, because
search engines give more relevancy “weight” to content at the start of
2) Use of Untargeted
Keywords and Phrases
Another common mistake made
by webmasters and SEO learners is their choice of keywords placed in the META
keyword tag. Sure it might seem logical to target the word
“printers” if you run a printer repair business in Ohio, but think about
it – even if you succeeded in ranking well for such a competitive term (you
won’t), how many of the people visiting your site as a result of this search
would leave as soon as they saw your home page? That’s right, most of them.
All the people who wanted to buy printers, all the people looking for
businesses outside Ohio, all the people not looking specifically
for printer repairers.
Does it become clear now
that targeting such a generic word is a waste of time? What you need to do
instead is optimize your site for search terms and phrases that are highly
targeted to your precise business. Use a tool such as Wordtracker
(keyword location software) to find what people are actually typing in to the
search engines to find goods and services similar to yours and concentrate on
ranking well for those terms. The more qualified your site visitors are, the
more likely you are to convert those visitors into paying customers.
3) A Lack of Optimized Body Text
This one is very common.
How often do you visit a home page that is made up entirely of graphics? You
know the ones – they consist of an enormous Flash file or maybe a large logo
or a montage of images, but the thing they have in common is a distinct lack
of text. Think they look professional? Think again. No matter what you read or
hear, if a site has no text on the home page, it hasn’t been correctly
optimized and has little chance of ranking well in the search engines. Now that’s
unprofessional in my opinion.
SEO’s often make the mistake of creating an optimized title tag and META
tags and believing their work is done. WRONG. If you want a web site to rank
well in the search engines, you need to give them what they want to see – visible
content that is optimized just as well as the invisible content. That
means adding keyword-filled body text to any page you want ranking high. Why?
Because most search engines can’t index images. Some engines don’t even
index META tags anymore. So a site with no visible content becomes effectively
invisible to a search engine and has almost no chance of appearing in the
rankings for logical searches.
search engine algorithms have become smarter and are now checking that sites
contain highly relevant content before including them in their index. If you
expect to rank well for a particular keyword or phrase, it’s not too much to
expect to find that keyword or phrase within your site is it?
4) Submitting to 1,000
I love this one. I’ve
lost count of how many banner ads or web sites I’ve seen boasting “We’ll
submit your site to 1,000 search engines!” I
can’t believe the hype is still prevalent that you need to submit a web site
to thousands of search engines in order to receive traffic. This is
just NOT TRUE.
fact, studies show that approximately 90% of search traffic still comes from
the 10 major U.S. search engines and directories (listed
here). Companies that advertise submission to thousands of search engines
are usually including in that list minor engines or directories that utilize
the databases of major engines anyway (so don’t require submission) or a
large number of Free For All (FFA) sites. Submitting your site to FFA pages
can damage your site’s reputation in the search engines, because they
consider FFA sites to be of very low quality and utilizing spamdexing
techniques in an attempt to falsely inflate a site’s link popularity. I’ve
even seen examples of sites being banned from a search engine for having their
pages listed on FFA sites by ill-informed webmasters without the site
you are targeting specific geographic markets, you might like to submit your
site to the most popular regional search engines in those countries, but the
fact is that most people worldwide continue to use the U.S. versions of search
engines such as Yahoo and AltaVista despite the fact that there are local
versions available. The bottom line? Get your site listed on the 10 most
popular search engines and directories and you will have the major worldwide
traffic sources covered.
5) Resubmitting Too Soon
and Too Often
So you’ve optimized your
site and submitted it to the most important search engines. But it’s been
three weeks and you haven’t received any traffic. Time to resubmit, right?
WRONG. Depending on the search engine, they can take up to twelve weeks to
include your site in their index. Each search engine and directory work to
their own time frame. You need to check their average submission times (a
chart is here)
and be patient.
when you’re in, what then? You should regularly submit to ensure you’re
ranked above your competitors, maybe once a month or once a week, right? WRONG
AGAIN. Once you’re in a search engine’s database, there is no need to
resubmit your site. It’s pointless actually, because they already know about
your site and their robot is scheduled to revisit and reindex all sites in the
database on a regular basis. Resubmitting wastes everybody’s time and can
actually get your URL permanently banned from a search engine for “spamdexing”.
only time you need to resubmit your site to a search engine is if your URL
changes or if your domain suddenly drops out of their database entirely. NOT
if your ranking drops, NOT if your content changes, but if the domain is
actually nowhere to be found in the index (this can happen from time to time
as the search engines Spring clean their databases). A good SEO will monitor
your rankings regularly (monthly is fine) and only resubmit when absolutely
those are the five most common SEO mistakes. Any sound familiar? Don’t
worry, you’re in good company. Now that you’ve recognised the problem
areas and are better equipped with the correct information, you’ll be able
to reverse the damage.
The above article may be
re-published as long as the content remains unchanged and the following
paragraph is included at the end of the article, including the URL links:
Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia and New Zealand, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running her own SEO business Web Rank, Kalena manages Search Engine College, an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing subjects.
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